Tag: Rihanna

Thoughts on Kylie Jenner for Puma

The activewear market is growing rapidly and on top of that activewear is being worn outside of the gym, in daily life. Sneaker culture is now mainstream. Entire brands form and grow based on these concepts. Think of V-Files hoodies, Common Projects sneakers, and the whole rebirth of forgotten sportswear brands of the nineties like Ellesse (now sold at Topshop) and Fila. Luxury brands like Balenciaga and Chanel both sell sneakers. Calvin Klein bras and briefs peek out from underneath, what seems like, 80% of teenage girls clothes. Yoga pants and running tights are worn as regular pants and sports bras are worn as crop tops. Basically, this whole segment of the market is booming and brands want to cash in on that.

In my opinion, Puma has always been known primarily for its suede sneakers. Apart from that it isn’t a brand I’ve ever thought about. It’s not quite as big as the two big hitters, Nike and Adidas, and I feel that it sometimes gets left behind. How funny is it that the founders of Adidas and Puma were brothers? Puma’s revenue is around $9bn less than Adidas annually. The partnership with Rihanna was designed to bring it back into the international psyche. It is now fashionable. In order to cash in on all things fashionable and now, they got a Kardashian/Jenner involved. Of course.

I don’t like Kylie Jenner for Puma. It is weird. For one, I think Khloe should’ve got the activewear endorsement job since she’s the one who is all about working out. Secondly, the campaign images released seem so out-of-touch, culturally appropriative, and just awkward. Thirdly, I’d much prefer Rihanna.

I understand that Rihanna has a different kind of partnership with the brand in the form of Fenty Puma, a range of clothes and shoes that even got its own runway show, whilst she is serving as the creative director of womenswear for Puma, so she will likely promote that line. The fur slides have sold out multiple times. However, the Kylie Jenner/Puma connection is a little bit unclear. When it was announced there was great controversy due to Kanye West denouncing claims that Kylie had her own deal with Puma on account of his, extremely successful, partnership with Adidas. I’m guessing this one was worked out behind closed doors because lo and behold, here we have the images of Kylie, styled by Monica Rose, splattered all across social media.

I just find them awkward. They feel contrived. Kylie would never be in a scenario like she is placed in for the ads so it feels so unnatural. In one image, she stands with one foot up on the subway seat, surrounded by graffiti, wearing glasses reminiscent to Cazals (the glasses worn famously by New York hip-hop artists in the 80s like Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC). She wears a gold knuckleduster. In another she stands at a pay phone holding pitbulls on a chain. Who even uses pay phones nowadays? Her tan is so deep at first glance I thought she was Latina (probably the look they were going for, in all honesty). It is appropriation of hip-hop culture by a rich white girl, 100%. But that’s Kylie’s whole look. Check her Instagram for some cornrows and Yeezy merch posted mere hours after the Puma ads were released.

 

The only way a Kylie Jenner x Puma collab would’ve worked would be if they photographed her by the pool in Calabasas or, on the beach in Malibu, or in a selfie style campaign. Instead of putting her in fake situations, let her document her daily life and how she incorporates streetwear into it. Make it like one of her Instagram posts, but on a grander level. Sort of like how Kendall did the selfies for Vogue a couple of years ago (that weren’t really selfies), I think Kylie acting more at home and in a situation that is not entirely alien to her would seem authentic. Instead this has come off as awkward and false. It’s like they’re trying to glorify a life that Kylie has clearly never led in an attempt to reach consumers who can relate. However, there is nothing more off-putting than one of America’s richest and most famous teens trying to sell you an image of the struggle, the daily hustle. Plus, this does nothing to squash people’s claims of her trying to look black (and profiting off their culture) whilst reaping all the benefits of white privilege. Kylie is not fully to blame for this but she is an active participant.

Overall, I just found the campaign rather unappealing. I feel like it is actually undoing the hard work Rihanna has put in to make the brand one of the cool athletic brands again. It may stand shoulder to shoulder with Nike and Adidas one day (although they are always in a league of their own) and I do think that this campaign will help Puma as a brand, only because everything that the Kardashian/Jenner family touches turns to gold.

The Best Covers: May 2015

Now there’s nothing significant about the month of May in magazine publishing. It’s not March or September (when the new season collections are released) so there is rarely the big hype around the covers. It just so happens that this year, the May covers are brilliant. From Rihanna’s V Magazine to Joan Smalls’ Lucky, and the brilliant Met Ball inspired photoshoot for Vogue, there was a lot to like. I’ve already done a separate post on Blake Lively’s Allure cover so check that out too!

V MAGAZINE

I thought that Rihanna looked a lot like Nicki Minaj in this photoshoot, and she looked damn good. Well, maybe not like Nicki, facially, but I feel that the shoot had to be Nicki-inspired at least. The blonde wig with bangs was similar to what Nicki used to wear back in 2011-2012 (don’t quote me on the dates, I’ve gotten a little rusty), as did the blue eyeshadow with the pink lip. Basically, if there wasn’t a photo of Nicki on the moodboard for the shoot, they’re doing her a damn disservice. Also, the hair was slightly Lil Kim circa 2000, or Nicki in 2010. I’ll attach photos for reference. My heart broke twice when I was looking for the photos: firstly, because I used to have what can only be described as an archive of every photoshoot Nicki Minaj was ever involved in and literally thousands of candids saved on my laptop, but I had to delete them due to lack of storage space, and secondly because when I was searching for the Lil Kim photos (I googled Lil Kim blonde hair 2000), hundreds of photos of Kim Kardashian came up…. To summarise, Rihanna looked hot and I like (what I’m assuming was) the inspiration behind the shoot.

LUCKY MAGAZINE

Joan Smalls fronts the cover of Lucky, a magazine that I have literally never read in my life. All I know about it is that it was owned by Conde Nast, it does e-commerce, and that Eva Chen is the editor. This cover is stunning and accessible. I think it is the type of cover that will draw in people across the country. Sometimes fashion magazines can be intimidating, a scowling model on the cover in some high fashion garb that the masses don’t care about. This is a cover that has a happy model in a pretty dress holding a bunch of flowers. I like it. It helps that Joan Smalls is stunningly beautiful…

VOGUE PARIS

France’s version of Vogue, one of my favourite editions, has come under fire for the lack of models of colour that it uses. Their response? Put Liya Kebede on the cover. Now I think Liya is perhaps one of the most underrated models out there. She has been working for a decade (at least), and looks as good now as she did when she first started. I think it is important to note that the last time she had a Vogue Paris cover, under Carine Roitfeld, she had the entire issue dedicated to her (way back in 2002). She is also the first black cover girl in 5 years, and is the first under Emanuelle Alt, who became editor back in 2011. Also, don’t you think her Dior ensemble is perhaps the least Dior look ever? To me, it looks like Versus or Fausto Puglisi.

VANITY FAIR

This is my favourite magazine ever, and this is a damn good cover. Vanity Fair is like reading a newspaper but with only interesting stories inside. Sofia Vergara wears Zac Posen on the cover, and she looks beautiful. I can only dream of looking as good as her at 42.

AMERICAN VOGUE

I wasn’t wild on the cover this month but inside there is an editorial starring Fei Fei Sun that is pretty great. As most of you will know, the upcoming Met Ball/Gala (I don’t know what the preferred term is, both are used), has a “Chinese Whispers” theme, meaning lots of Eastern influences. This translated into a photoshoot for Vogue, starring a Chinese model (thank God they didn’t just use a white girl), but completely lacked any Asian designers. However, the images were just beautiful despite that. Vintage Alexander McQueen, John Galliano (at Dior), Jean Paul Gaultier, and Chanel (by Lagerfeld, not Coco) were all used, and not a new piece was in sight. Slightly off-topic, but I love how American Vogue tells a story with their captions instead of just listing the designer and the price. This editorial has got me excited for the Met Gala!